Guides for Topic: Stories

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Executing Grace

by Shane Claiborne

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In this reasoned exploration of justice, retribution, and redemption, the champion of the new monastic movement, popular speaker, and author of the bestselling The Irresistible Revolution offers a powerful and persuasive appeal for the abolition of the death penalty.

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Shadow of The Almighty

by Elisabeth Elliot

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One of the great missionary stories of modern times, Shadow of the Almighty is the life and testament of Jim Elliot, as told by Elliot’s widow, author and evangelist Elisabeth Elliot Gren.

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Short Stories by Jesus

by Amy-Jill Levine

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Renowned biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for modern readers.

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Learning to Walk in the Dark

by Barbara Brown Taylor

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From the New York Times bestselling author of An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark provides a way to find spirituality in those times when we don’t have all the answers.

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Telling Secrets

by Frederick Buechner

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With eloquence, candor, and simplicity, a celebrated author tells the story of his father’s alcohol abuse and suicide and traces the influence of this secret on his life as a son, father, husband, minister, and writer.

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American Jezebel

by Eve LaPlante

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The seeds of the American struggle for women’s and human rights can be found in the story of this one woman’s courageous life. American Jezebel illuminates the origins of our modern concepts of religious freedom, equal rights, and free speech, and showcases an extraordinary woman whose achievements are astonishing by the standards of any era.

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Salem Witch Judge

by Eve LaPlante

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In 1692 Puritan Samuel Sewall sent twenty people to their deaths on trumped-up witchcraft charges. The trials might have doomed Sewall to infamy except for a courageous act of contrition now commemorated in a mural that hangs beneath the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House picturing Sewall’s public repentance. In Salem Witch Judge, acclaimed biographer Eve LaPlante, Sewall’s great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter, draws on family lore, her ancestor’s personal diaries, and archival documents to open a window onto life in colonial America, painting a portrait of a man traditionally vilified, but who was in fact an innovator and forefather who came to represent the best of the American spirit.

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The Pastor

by Eugene H. Peterson

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An inspiring memoir of faith, humility, and the joys and struggles of answering God’s call, from the most well-known pastor in the world—Eugene Peterson, translator of the internationally bestselling The Message. In this humble, personal chronicle, Peterson tells the story of how he stumbled into his vocation, and recounts his difficult journey to discover just what being a pastor really means.

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The Book of the Shepherd

by Joann Davis

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In a mythical time, in an unnamed land, the shepherd Joshua is troubled by the harsh code of “an eye for an eye” that governs his world. Called by a dream, he sets off on a journey to find “the new way.” Accompanied by Elizabeth, a former slave, and David, a boy who must learn to walk in new shoes, the shepherd knows that “an age of miracles” will come when the new way is found.

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Slow Way Home

by Michael Morris

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On the surface, Brandon Willard seems like your average eight-year-old boy. He loves his mama, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and G. I. Joe. But Brandon’s life is anything but typical. Wise beyond his years, Brandon understands he’s the only one in this world he can count on. It’s an outlook that serves him well the day his mama leaves him behind at the Raleigh bus station and sets off to Canada with “her destiny”—the latest man that she hopes will bring her happiness. The day his mother leaves, Brandon takes the first step toward shaping his own destiny.

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Hope Springs

by Lynne Hinton

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Pull up a chair and discover the strength and sustenance of friendship with Jessie, Margaret, Louise, Beatrice, and Charlotte, as the unique bond forged between these five remarkable women is put to the test when one of their own is stricken with a deadly illness. Filled with the mystery and wonder that make life worthwhile, Hope Springs will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

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Putting Away Childish Things

by Marcus J. Borg

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“We all know that Marcus Borg is a gifted teacher, biblical scholar, and writer of nonfiction, but it turns out that he’s a master storyteller, too.” —Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity

Bestselling author, Bible scholar, and theologian Marcus Borg uses his core teachings on faith and the Bible to demonstrate their transformative power and potential in Putting Away Childish Things: the moving, inspirational story of a college professor, her students, and a crisis of faith.

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The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

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Every few decades, a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, Paulo Coelho’s charming fable has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. The story of Santiago’s journey teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.

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The Last Week

by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan

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Top Jesus scholars Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan join together to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. As both authors responded to questions about Mel Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion. Using the gospel of Mark as their guide, Borg and Crossan present a day-by-day account of Jesus’s final week of life. The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor. Informed, challenged, and inspired, we not only meet the historical Jesus, but meet a new Jesus who engages us and invites us to follow him.

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Still

by Lauren Winner

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In Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair. Witty, relatable, and fiercely honest, Winner lays bare her experience of what she calls the “middle” of the spiritual life. In elegant and spare prose, she explores why—in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness, and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God is—the Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story she’s ever known. Still is an absorbing meditation combining literary grace with spiritual wisdom. It is sure to resonate with anyone looking to sustain a spiritual life in the midst of real life.

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Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment

by Deepak Chopra

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The founder of The Chopra Center and the preeminent teacher of Eastern philosophy to the Western World, Deepak Chopra gives us the story of the man who became Messiah in his phenomenal New York Times bestseller Jesus. The author who illuminated the life of Buddha now offers readers an unparalleled portrait of Jesus Christ, from carpenter’s son to revolutionary leader, that is fresh and inspiring—a remarkable retelling of the greatest story ever told.

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Revelation of the Magi

by Brent Landau

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Theologian Brent Landau presents the ancient account of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, the three “wise men” who journeyed to Bethlehem to greet the birth of Jesus. Revelation of the Magi offers the first-ever English translation of an ancient Syriac manuscript written in the second to third century after the birth of Christ and safeguarded for generations in the Vatican Library. Following in the footsteps of Elaine Pagels and her exploration of the Gnostic Gospels, including the controversial Gospel of Judas, Landau delivers an invaluable source of information to a world interested in learning more about the Nativity and the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

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The Novice

by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Thich Nhat Hanh offers a poignant and beautiful novel with the power to teach, transform, and transcend all boundaries of faith, creed, country, and era. For readers who know Hanh from books such as Peace is Every Step and Anger, or for those who may be new to the writing of the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master and peace activist, The Novice will open a soulful road of introspection and self-discovery, a path leading to greater awareness of the means to manifest peace both inside oneself and in the world at large.

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An Altar in the World

by Barbara Brown Taylor

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In An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor shares how she learned to encounter God far beyond the walls of the church. She reveals meaningful ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see, from simple practices such as walking, working, and prayer. Something as ordinary as hanging clothes on a clothesline becomes an act of meditation if we pay attention to what we’re doing and take time to notice the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. As we incorporate these practices into our daily lives, we begin to discover altars everywhere we go, in nearly everything we do. Through Taylor’s expert guidance and delicate, thought-provoking prose, we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.

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Leaving Church

by Barbara Brown Taylor

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After five successful years as the pastor of her own small congregation in Clarkesville, Georgia, Barbara Brown Taylor ultimately finds herself experiencing “compassion fatigue” and wonders what exactly God has called her to do. She realizes that in order to keep her faith, she may have to leave. Taylor describes a rich spiritual journey in which God has given her more questions than answers. As she becomes part of the flock instead of the shepherd, she describes her poignant and sincere struggle to regain her footing in the world without her defining collar. Taylor’s realization that this may in fact be God’s surprising path for her leads her to a refreshing search to find Him in new places. Leaving Church will remind even the most skeptical among us that life is about both disappointment and hope—and ultimately, renewal.

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When the Heart Waits

by Sue Monk Kidd

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Blending her own experiences with an intimate grasp of spirituality, Sue Monk Kidd relates the passionate and moving tale of her spiritual crisis, when life seemed to have lost meaning and her longing for a hasty escape from the pain yielded to a discipline of “active waiting.”

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The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

by Sue Monk Kidd

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For years, Sue Monk Kidd was a conventionally religious woman. Then, in the late 1980s, she experienced an unexpected awakening, and began a journey toward a feminine spirituality. With the exceptional storytelling skills that have helped make her name, the author of When the Heart Waits tells her very personal story of the fear, anger, healing, and freedom she experienced on the path toward the wholeness that many women have lost in the church. Kidd reveals a new level of feminine spiritual consciousness for all women—one that retains a meaningful connection with the “deep song of Christianity,” embraces the sacredness of ordinary women’s experience, and has the power to transform in the most positive ways every fundamental relationship in a woman’s life—her marriage, her career, and her religion.

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The Screwtape Letters

by C. S. Lewis

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In this humorous and perceptive exchange between two devils, C. S. Lewis delves into moral questions about good vs. evil, temptation, repentance, and grace. Through this wonderful tale, the reader emerges with a better understanding of what it means to live a faithful life.

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